“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And though she be but little, she is fierce.”– A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I was never too keen on Shakespeare, but there are moments when I fully understand what he was saying.
I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago. After dropping off something to a friend, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day. Since I was at MICA, I suddenly wanted some risotto from Joe Squared.
I love their risotto but the parking and overall traffic on North Avenue be hellish so my not-having-it-in-a-while was mostly due to that. But as they’d moved to a newer spot, I decided to chance it, hoping that the parking would be slightly better.
It was… kinda. I didn’t go down the street far enough to see if they had an actual parking pad—I will next time—but I’d turned down the street at their corner and found street parking. It was metered and since I wasn’t going to be long, I decided to chance it and not pay the meter.
Bad, I know. But I really didn’t want to pay for parking when I really wasn’t going to take all day.
As there was a car in the spot in front of me, I’d pulled up so that the next meter was in front of my car. Smart, right? Considering most of the meters I’d parked at, they’re always to be located at the front of the car.
Apparently, some local guy thought I needed a lesson and came to the passenger side of my car and motioned for me to pull up more. I tried to signal to him—no way was I putting my window down—that the car in front of me wasn’t pulled up all the way, I so was going to stay in a middle spot.
When he yelled so loud, I could hear in perfectly in my car, saying that I was taking up two spots.
Wait a damn minute. How was I taking up two spots?! The car in front of me wasn’t pulled all the way up to the meter, so the meter he wanted me to pull up to, I couldn’t reach it. As I’m trying to decide what I was going to do, I could hear him, loud and clear.
“I ain’t tryna steer you wrong, move your fucking car! Damn bitch actin’ like she don’t hear me.”
Pause—what the fuck did he just say?!
I had to take a breath and collect my shock. I looked at him and said “What?!” out loud. Like, what the fuck did you just say about me? Because he clearly wasn’t speaking tome, not with that language.
He continued on his tirade, and at this moment, I couldn’t tell you what all he said because it all blurred together. I turned around in my seat, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My hands started to shake and I really felt uneasy. I really told myself that I was not staying here, and started to put my car into reverse so I could pull out of the spot and into the street. I’d look somewhere else to park.
But then, I stopped. I couldn’t tell you what stopped me, but I said “No, fuck this.” I was not going anywhere. Why should I have to move to another parking spot? Why should I be made to be uncomfortable due to this asshole (I refuse to call him a man)?
Baltimore is my city. I was born and raised here. I have never once felt afraid in my city and I wasn’t going to let some skinny-ass hoodrat make me start now. Besides, I was reallyhungry and it’s not wise to mess with me when I’m hungry.
And so, I parked officially—apparently on that block the meters are at the back of the cars, not the front, I guess—adjusted my sunnies, and got out of the car. I don’t think homeboy expected me to because I made sure to walk by him on the sidewalk. And as I did, I looked him up and down, and DARED him to say something to my face.
He wisely kept his mouth shut, and I kept walking to the store. Punk ass, I said to myself.
Mansa would’ve told me to leave— he’d say it’s not worth it and people are as crazy as you think they are. I don’t look for trouble—never have. But what you won’t do and try and bully me into anything, thinking that if you curse at me and try to intimidate me, I’m going to comply.
He clearly had the wrong one that day. And I’m not even the wrong one. The waywrong one would’ve came out the car with a weapon in their hands and beat his ass in the street. But, I’m not like that. I don’t start, but I will defend.
In the end, I got my risotto—it was so good! —and homeboy fucked off somewhere and wasn’t in my view when I got back to my car. I was proud of myself for standing up. Far too often, women are made to be afraid and it’s not like we don’t have good reason. Men are the #1 reason we’re harmed.
(Ok I haven’t checked the facts on that, but I’m sure that’s true. Maybe heart disease, but men are the top 3 reasons.)
Yes, that guy could’ve harmed me physically. And I couldn’t tell you what I would’ve done. But I can tell you this—he would’ve regretted his actions that day. He would not have liked the side of me that would’ve come out in that moment.
No call to action this time—just wanted to share my Shakespearian moment.